Granted, Craven's task is made more difficult by the fact that this is one of those films where everyone, but everyone, is involved in the conspiracy. Some folks were part of it at the beginning, some are only brought in after Emma's death, but everyone is involved. Craven, of course, doesn't know this as he starts out, but the fact that it is a conspiracy means that he makes the absolute right decision in not telling any of his co-workers/police friends that it was Emma who was the target of the killing. At the time Craven makes that decision it is poorly motivated – an eye for an eye revenge is the sole reason – but it proves brilliant in hindsight. That is just one of the problems with the film – the only truly good reason Craven has for going it alone on the case is that it is a conspiracy, but he can't possibly have known that when he first decided to take the vigilante route.The plot is murky at best, full of clichéd notions of corrupt politicians, black ops fixers, and corporations more interested in money than human beings. The film, however, manages to remain better than passable due to the vast majority of the performances. Gibson, as stated above, has made a career out of this type of loner character – perhaps that is why it is so acceptable that he opts to go it alone – and it truly is a pleasure after so many years of his not being on the big screen to see him return. Gibson is in top form in the film, he is dark and angry and yet his anger is entirely driven by his grief at being robbed of that which was most important to him. It is a very good performance in an otherwise dime-a-dozen film.
Many of Gibson's co-stars are equally good, most notably Ray Winstone as Jedburgh, a mysterious man who is tasked with whitewashing all the goings-on. Winstone's Jedburgh is world-weary and smart, a man who, despite sometimes doing the wrong thing does his best to proceed in the most forthright and honorable way he can. The one true disappointment in the cast is Danny Huston. Huston plays Jack Bennett, the head of Northmoor, and a man who, from the first moment he appears on the screen, before he even opens his mouth, is so clearly the bad guy, that the film's believability suffers massively when Craven doesn't torture Bennett into confessing immediately. Perhaps though the problem is that we as an audience are so far ahead of Craven at that point that we see what he cannot.